As I mentioned in post #58 for Laggan, Scotland, I love visiting TV and movie locations. There’s something cool about stepping onto the “set” of your favorite screen drama and imagining that you’re right there with the characters, playing out a scene, participating in the action. I will forever kick myself for missing out on the Lord of the Rings tour while on the south island of New Zealand, a mistake I will not repeat when Donica and I go to NZ this December! While in Scotland, my mom, Shirley, and I loved our visit to the locations of a great little show called Monarch of the Glen, a series I had never actually viewed until after we did the tour. The situation is similar when I arrive in Salzburg, Austria.

To be clear, Salzburg, is a long way from Hollywood; it’s not particularly known for its film locations. So what is the town famous for? If you’re a classical music afficionados, you surely know Salzburg for its famous native son, Mozart, who was born in the city in 1756. Everywhere you go in Salzburg, you find Mozart-related tchotchkes, from mugs to spoons to calendars. I’m happy to confirm that the chocolate “Mozart balls” are actually pretty tasty. But as far as I know, the most-famous Mozart film, Amadeus, was not, in fact, filmed in this area. No, Salzburg’s one claim to move fame is its locations for The Sound of Music.

Now here’s the thing. At age 21, when I drop myself in Salzburg, I’ve never even seen the Sound of Music. I know, it’s weird. It’s like saying you’ve never viewed the Wizard of Oz or It’s a Wonderful Life. Who hasn’t seen “TSOM”?!! That doesn’t stop me, of course, from taking the tour when it’s offered at my youth hostel. If nothing else, I figure, I should be able to see some nice scenery as we drive around the Alpen locales. Sign me up!

Now, doing a tour with diehard movie fans is like attending the Rocky Horror Picture show for the first time; everyone else (besides you) knows what to expect. Sitting there in our shiny tour bus as we climb up the Austrian hillsides, I’m bombarded with a chorus of “Look, it’s the house where the Von Trapps lived,” and “Wow, it’s the field where Maria spun,” and “Whoa, the gazebo is smaller than I imagined.” And none of this means a thing to me! Until, that is, we return to the hostel and the proprietor announces, “We’re going to watch The Sound of Music tonight, projected on a wall.” What a coincidence. Not surprisingly, I enjoy the film a bunch. It’s like watching a slide show of someone else’s vacation and saying, “I’ve been there!” And that’s when you know you’re hooked.

“Now that I’ve seen the movie, we have to do the tour a second time tomorrow!”

(The normal way of doing things is 1) do research, 2) take action. If I’d known in advance I was going to Salzburg, I most certainly would’ve seen the movie beforehand. But I didn’t. Salzburg just sort of happened. Life is like that. Sometimes you have to consciously do things in reverse. Take the tour, then see the movie. Watch the TV show, then read the book. Take the job, then figure out your duties. Ask the girl out, then learn more about her. Don’t let lack-of-research stop from you from having a signature experience. Jump in!)